(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama withheld judgment about the sincerity of Rush Limbaugh’s apology to now famous Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, but said Fluke’s “parents should be proud of her.”
He was, however, silent on a reporter’s question about whether comedian Bill Maher should apologize for comments he said about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Fluke testified to a panel of House Democrats about the cost of contraception, arguing in favor of the federal government mandating all employers – including religious institutions that oppose it on conscience grounds – pay for abortifacients, sterilizations and contraception of employees or in her case students at Georgetown University, a Catholic college.
Talk radio show host Rush Limbaugh suggested that someone who wants sexual activity subsidized is called a “prostitute.” After an uproar, he apologized, first on his website Saturday, and again on his radio show Monday.
During a presidential news conference Tuesday, a reporter asked the president, “Mr. President, do you think Rush Limbaugh’s apology to the Georgetown law student was sufficient and heartfelt? Do you agree with the decision of the growing number of sponsors that have decided to drop his show and stop supporting his show?
“And has there been a double standard on this issue? Liberal commentators have made similarly provocative or distasteful statements, and there hasn’t been such an outrage,” the reporter added.
Obama reserved judgment on Limbaugh’s apology.
“You know I’m not going to comment on what sponsors decide to do. I’m not going to comment on either the economics or the politics of it. I don’t know what’s in Rush Limbaugh’s heart, so I’m not going to comment on the sincerity of his apology,” Obama said.
“What I can comment on is the fact that all decent folks can agree that the remarks that were made don’t have any place in the public discourse, and the reason I called Ms. Fluke is because I thought about Malia and Sasha and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about,” Obama continued.
“Even ones I may not agree with them on. I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens. And I wanted Sandra to know that I thought her parents should be proud of her and that we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves arguments and disagreements and debate,” he added.
At that point, a reporter asked if Maher, who donated $1 million to Obama’s Super PAC should apologize. Obama ignored the question.